The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front

J. Matthew Gallman, Author
J. Matthew Gallman, Author Ivan R. Dee Publisher $22.5 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56663-049-8
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-56663-050-4
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This brief survey, synthesizing a broad spectrum of scholarly monographs, argues that the North's wartime experience emphasized continuity rather than disruption, that the Union responded to the challenge of civil war with adjustments rather than changes. Despite the steady expansion of government authority over such matters as recruiting and supply, the North, contends Loyola College history professor Gallman, maintained an essentially private, local, voluntaristic structure (``The Civil War was truly a national war fought by local communities''). Race relations were altered by African American participation in the war effort, and the Civil War opened some economic and social doors for women. But market forces rather than government controls drove economic development, while conscription ironically encouraged volunteering. ``The Civil War stretched the bounds of political discourse in all directions,'' argues Gallman, ``even while it left the shape of that discourse largely unchanged.'' The author convincingly concludes that while the beleaguered South was ``forced to accept far more dislocation'' as its ``price of war,'' the North found it unnecessary to wage ``total war'' in order to achieve its essentially conservative objective of restoring the Union. (May)
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